POM(pous) Claims? Juice Makers Accused of Overstating Health Benefits

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Silverglade said Vitaminwater's claims are not as deceitful as POM's, but they are still inaccurate.

"They make a number of health-related claims concerning certain vitamins and minerals in the product that are half-truths, and half-truths are misleading under the law," Silverglade said.

Nelson said Vitaminwater does contain some vitamins and minerals, and these vitamins and minerals have health benefits, but that doesn't mean drinking Vitaminwater will provide those benefits.

"They're taking information about some of the ingredients that are there in tiny doses and running to the end zone and creating a whole claim," Nelson said.

In fact, there's a cheaper -- and perhaps more effective -- way to get the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals.

"Is it any different than taking a multivitamin with water? No. A vitamin may even give you more nutrients," said Ayoob.

Ayoob and Nelson both added that Vitaminwater, with the exception of Vitaminwater Zero, has a lot of sugar and calories.

The Coca-Cola company called the lawsuit "ludicrous."

"Consumers can readily see the nutrition facts panels on every bottle of Glaceau Vitaminwater, which show what's in our product and what's not," the company wrote in a statement. "The success of Glaceau Vitaminwater is due in large part to consumers looking for a product like this to help support their healthy, active and on-the-go lifestyle."

Coca-Cola sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, saying "no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage." A judge ruled against the beverage giant this past summer.

SoBe Beverages Settled Over False Claims in 2005

Five years ago, SoBe Beverages agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the state of Connecticut. The state accused the company of falsely stating that its drinks protected consumers from colds and offered other healthy advantages.

SoBe, owned by PepsiCo, said it would no longer make the claims and agreed to pay more than $200,000 to the state.

Consumers Should Be Wary

"Always ask questions. Ask a doctor, ask a dietician," said Nelson. "Go to the FDA site or go to a medically proven site to find out more about a claim."

Experts stress that drinks like POM and Vitaminwater, like everything else, should be consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.

Perhaps most importantly, consumers should realize that they're not going to improve their health by drinking a certain kind of juice.

"There are no 'magic bullets' out there," said Ayoob. "Mother Nature doesn't work like that."

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